Marguerite S. Willis, Nexsen Pruet antitrust and unfair competition attorney, was awarded the 2018 Jean Galloway Bissell Award by the South Carolina Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA) during the organization’s 25th Anniversary Annual Conference.
The annual award is named for Jean Galloway Bissell (1936-1990), South Carolina’s first female lawyer to be confirmed as a federal judge.
“Marguerite is most deserving of this award, not just because of her legal prowess, but also because of her commitment to mentoring and developing other women lawyers,” said Sheila M. Willis, Columbia, South Carolina attorney and current SCWLA President. “Marguerite never hesitates to provide leadership, guidance and encouragement to other women lawyers. Her legal career and professional endeavors have paved the way for women lawyers all over the country. I am beyond happy to call her a colleague, mentor and friend.”
According to SCWLA, the Bissell award selection criteria includes distinguished and noteworthy service to the public and the legal profession, achievement of professional excellence and participation in activities that have paved the way to success for women lawyers on the national, state or local level.
“I am humbled,” said Willis. “This award truly belongs to all the women lawyers who keep their minds, their hearts and their doors open to help others.”
Willis has had an extraordinary career. In the courtroom, she’s established a reputation for delivering highly effective and highly successful litigation strategies. With a track-record that spans decades, she has been involved in some of Nexsen Pruet’s largest verdicts. She has served as national counsel for a number of cases, including federal and state class actions, and prosecuted major antitrust matters involving a wide range of claims, from unfair trade practices and false advertising to monopolization and vicarious corporate liability.
Outside of the courtroom, Willis currently serves as the President of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society established to reflect the new face of the American bar, where she is a co-founder of the organization's Academy of Antitrust Law. She is also a Fellow of the American Bar Association and a Member of the Federal Bar Association.
Willis has dedicated her time and talent to the advancement of the next generation of women leaders. She is a Past President of SCWLA, Past President of the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia and former Board Member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees. She led the effort to establish Nexsen Pruet's Women's Leadership Institute with the goal of developing and mentoring the firm's next generation of influential women. She also founded Women in Philanthropy - an organization dedicated to harnessing the power of women and compounding individual capabilities to make charitable contributions. During Hilary Clinton’s historic 2016 Presidential campaign, Willis received national press coverage for her efforts as a state Democratic delegate. In 2018, she ran for South Carolina’s Democratic nomination for Governor, joining the historic surge in women running for office.
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Nexsen Pruet, LLC is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 190 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as well as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national and international venues.